All posts filed under: Northern Irish Women Poets

A Celebration of Women’s Poetry on International Women’s Day 2019

Image: Srilata Krishnan Poethead has been celebrating the achievements of women writers, editors and translators for over a decade. International Women’s Day 2019 is no exception. This year I have decided to highlight the work of women poets from my international index and to introduce my readers to some new Irish poets. I am very grateful to all the poets who submit to the site, especially for their patience. I do not think we would be heading into eleven years this March 2019 without the generous support and uplift that comes from my daily correspondence. Thank you, C. Murray, March 2019 ‘Birth Mother’ by Srilata Krishnan   We are standing in front of the mirror, my daughter and I, brushing our hair and being vain when I think of the doctor’s question: “What was her birth cry like?” I don’t know and never will. She is fine, or will be, I know. But looking in the mirror and into her almond eyes, I wonder what she is like – her birth mother – if she …

“The Unfinished Poem” and other poems by Caroline Johnstone

The Unfinished Poem The house his mind once called its home Has gaping roofs, and paint-cracked eaves, Of forget-me-not blues The frosted brittle skeletons of history and wit served now As a porridge of forgetfulness, faint echoes haunt Sweet gentle kisses of remembrance Dementia’s wraiths roam shadowed emptied rooms, Herald long laments for lonely roads where memories float In space yet give no hope, no sense of place. As Alice keeps on falling down the rabbit-holes of grief The curtains close on last acts interrupted. Observers weep at unfinished poems. 1771 – The American Wake (published by The Galway Review) My firstborn child declared his independence, Said he would choose to live, not die, by drought that stalked us all, Or drown by workhouse shame. The death knell rang. America had called, cried freedom, hope. He left our land, was pushed by fear, by poverty that gnawed his soul, And pulled by hope, and images of greener lands than these. While on the hill, the landlord nodded, raised the rents And watched our young ones …

Merry Christmas 2018 Dear Poethead Readers ♥

Poetry publishing will resume in January 2019. I will be reading and responding to your submissions in the intervening period. Thank you for your emails, your queries, your support and responses over this year of 2018. As always, the site remains open and accessible. Please visit An Index Of Women Poets and Contemporary Irish Women Poets during the season.  My thanks to Salma Caller, whose wonderful artistic response to my 2018 publications graces this message, her work can be found throughout Poethead. Thanks to the many poets who submitted during 2018. Your tremendous work was an utter joy to read. Thank you for your patience in waiting for publication. I am delighted to have welcomed first-time poets, poet-translators, and work from experienced poets through this past year. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the season. The image accompanying this short post reminds me that in January, the first flowers begin appearing, something wonderful to look forward to.  (Image details) Chris Murray December 2018 Contemporary Irish Women Poets An Index Of Women Poets Recent features on Poethead  …

Poems from ‘Available Light’ by Maria McManus

from ‘Émigrés’   3.   What is going on in your heart?   Prisoners of war live here   Throw off your gaudy vestments, spring’s best and brightest fig and let me see you naked and then, more naked still —   Put your heart in my hearts cavity. Slip it in.   Bring your worry beads if needs be. It’s not too late to shred all documents of denunciation.   5.   Now we must hunt by ear and put our trust   in gossiping swallows, the hooded crows, the herring gulls,   the wryneck’s potent drum.   7. Between silences take notice of the imago of your stolen self. Sold back but at what price?   10. Collect wishbones, place them in charnel houses, quarter the ground to make sure and certain none are missing – these things bring a plan to grief.   11. The song-birds are drowning, the sea is now a cemetery. The song-birds are drowning, the sea is now a cemetery   14. Life’s comforts are honeycombed and treacherous, and …

‘Still Life With Hedgehog’ and other poems by Gaynor Kane

Still life with hedgehog   The items have been arranged; carefully positioned, to vary height with texture and tone. Lit from the left. But what the artist hadn’t bargained for was that the sleeping urchin would unfurl; spine straightening, light-tipped quills oblique. To nimbly negotiate the spray of red roses, and feast on wedge of watermelon. White table linen turning light pink.   Abraxas Oh, dark one! I see shadows staring back reflected in an ebony pond, a black iris smooth and shining. Do we see differently? Is your world in sepia, or monochrome, or technicolour? Have you lost hope in humanity? I stroll through the golden field, seeded grass swishes against skin. You follow, echoing my gait. Under a shaft of sunlight we stop – still. Feel our breathing become synchronised. Taste the mist of our exhalation merging in the stillness of us muzzles almost nuzzling. But you are looking down on me and I wonder if your power will be my undoing. I reach to touch your cheek. The spell is broken you …